Unsolicited absentee ballot applications are legal, officials confirm


INDIANAPOLIS — Unsolicited absentee ballot applications from at least one political party are showing up in some Hoosiers’ mailboxes.

The Marion County Clerk’s Office confirms its staff has received calls from Marion County voters who have received these applications.

“Of course both political parties are very interested in having people registered with their party and people that are voting for their party,” Laura Wilson, a UIndy associate professor of political science said.

Deputy Director Russell Hollis said this is legal.

“We’re appreciative to the parties working to increase voter turn out by sending absentee applications to the voters,” Hollis said. “I would just encourage voters to return those applications as quickly as possible.”

Hamilton County election officials begin processing absentee ballot applications Monday, according to its Facebook page. They said they have received 25,000 applications so far.

Marion County’s officials report they have received roughly 40,000 at this point. But, they expect that number to increase to at least 100,000 applications.

It is important to know you only need to fill out one absentee ballot application. If you do not get your ballot in time, you are able to vote in person. Of course, you cannot vote in person and complete a mail-in ballot.

“If you were to send in an absentee ballot and vote in person, you can’t vote twice,” Wilson explained. “They would throw out whichever ballot they got second. So, the first one they get is what they would count, the second one is what they wouldn’t.”

By now, you might have received unsolicited texts urging you to vote as well. Hollis said at this time they do not have any concern about those, particularly regarding interference.

“Whether it’s the text messages that are unsolicited or even the mailers that they’ve received, it’s legit in terms of the link that they are being sent to,” Hollis said.

The deadline to get an absentee ballot is October 22. You must select one of 11 reasons why you cannot vote in person and need to vote by mail. COVID19 concerns are not one of those reasons. Unless of course, you do have the virus.

“I would strongly encourage voters to return those applications to the election board much sooner than that so we can have ample time to get you your ballot,” Hollis said.

Hoosiers must be registered to vote by October 5.

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